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There should be zero tolerance towards violent extremism:India

United Nations

United Nations: Asserting that there are no good or bad terrorists, India has told the UN Security Council that absence of “State authority” provides the breeding ground for violent extremist organisations and insisted that there should be zero tolerance towards such groups.

“Terrorism is evil; there can be no good terrorists and bad terrorists. In the same way, extremism and violent extremism are always evil. There should be zero tolerance,” India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Bhagwant Bishnoi said at the UNSC debate yesterday on ‘Role of Youth in Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting Peace’.

He said there is need to acknowledge that it is the absence of State authority or weak State authority that provides the breeding ground for violent extremist groups to operate.

“The fact that there are conditions of poverty and unemployment are secondary. In fact, these conditions are also a result of absence of strong State authority,” he said.

He further said that religious fanaticism is responsible for violent extremism. “It is the purveyors of hate and those who characterise others as infidels who are the culprits. Youth are only cannon fodder,” he said.

Noting that while there is merit in empowering and educating the youth, it is more important to restrain those who engage in the politics of hate.

“This is a responsibility of the State. It is not one that can be exercised selectively,” Bishnoi said.

He made a strong call for nations to take responsibility to ensure that education systems do not promote hatred.

“It is important that traditional learning systems promote harmony and brotherhood of all mankind. In India, we seek to ensure that our textbooks reflect our rich heritage of diversity,” he said, adding it is India’s firm belief that ultimately it is the values represented by open and tolerant societies that are the best foil to the forces of violent extremism.

Nations should also ensure that media, including social media, is not used to incite and propagate hatred.

“States which do not take this responsibility seriously, do so at their own peril. In today’s inter-connected world, they do so at the peril of others as well,” he said.

He stressed that a truly democratic, inclusive and participatory form of government goes a long way in preventing conditions that lead to violent extremism.

“It is important that no section of the society feel excluded or marginalised. This would certainly be the surest way of preventing radicalisation,” he said.

The meeting was chaired by Crown Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II of Jordan in his country’s capacity as President of the 15-nation Council for the month of April. At 20 years old, he is the youngest person to ever chair a UNSC meeting.

The young prince warned that poverty, unemployment, ignorance and “weak familial ties” help create “fertile ground for extremist thought and dismal ideas.”

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